Tuesday, January 16, 2018
- Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 7.8 ft @ 13.3 secs with swell 5.9 ft @ 13.2 secs from 323 degrees.
- Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 4.6 ft @ 13.7 secs with swell 3.3 ft @ 15.2 secs from 284 degrees. Wind at the buoy was northeast at 4 kts. Water temperature 61.0 degs. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 4.1 ft @ 12.8 secs from 274 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 3.6 ft @ 16.7 secs from 266 degrees. At Camp Pendleton (043) swell was 2.0 ft @ 18.3 secs from 242 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 5.1 ft @ 15.9 secs from 274 degrees.
- Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 12.7 ft @ 16.7 secs with swell 7.0 ft @ 17.1 secs from 282 degrees. Wind at the buoy was south 10-12 kts. Water temp 56.5 degs.
See Hi-Res Buoy Dashboards (bottom of the page)
Swell Classification Guidelines
Significant: Winter - Swell 8 ft @ 14 secs or greater (11+ ft faces) for 8+ hours (greater than double overhead).
Summer - Head high or better.
Advanced: Winter - Swell and period combination capable of generating faces 1.5 times overhead to double overhead (7-10 ft)
Summer - Chest to head high.
Intermediate/Utility Class: Winter - Swell and period combination generating faces at head high to 1.5 times overhead (4-7 ft).
Summer - Waist to chest high.
Impulse/Windswell: Winter - Swell and period combination generating faces up to head high (1-4 ft) or anything with a period less than 11 secs.
Summer - up to waist high swell. Also called 'Background' swell.
Surf Heights for Hawaii should be consider 'Hawaiian Scale' if period exceeds 14 secs.
On Tuesday (1/16) in North and Central CA Dateline Swell #2 continued to hit with waves double plus overhead (12 ft faces) and pretty raw and foggy and mixed up but clean with no wind. Protected breaks were 3 ft overhead and totally fogged in but assumed to be clean. At Santa Cruz surf was pushing double overhead on the sets at top breaks and clean and lined up. In Southern California up north swell was hitting solid with surf up to 3 ft overhead on the sets and clean and lined up and looking pretty good. In North Orange Co surf was 2-3 ft overhead and lined up and clean. South Orange Country's best breaks were head high and clean and lined up with lines stacked to the horizon. In San Diego surf was 1 ft overhead and clean and lined up. Hawaii's North Shore was getting leftover Dateline swell with waves in the 2-3 ft overhead range and reasonably clean and lined up. The South Shore was thigh high and clean. The East Shore was getting minimal wrap around swell at chest high and nearly chopped from moderate northeast wind.
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
On Tuesday (1/16) swell from Storm #2 that developed while pushing off the Southern Kuril's tracking east over the dateline Wed-Thurs (1/11) with 46-48 ft seas then fell southeast Fri-Sat (1/13) with 36 ft seas aimed east before fading in the Eastern Gulf early Sun AM (1/14) was fading in Hawaii and still pretty solid in California, but down some from it's peak on Monday (1/15) in NCal. Secondary energy from that storm which developed Sun (1/14) producing 31 ft seas aimed east and lifting northeast while fading fast Mon (1/5) was hitting California. A smaller system is on track and forming 1100 nmiles north of Hawaii in the Central Gulf Tues (1/16) projected to track east with seas building to 50 ft early Wed (1/7) off the Oregon-CA border aimed east. Perhaps a far weaker gale is to form in the same area Fri-Sun (1/21) producing 30 ft seas aimed east. A weak system is also forecast off Japan Thurs-Sat (1/20) with up to 44 ft seas aimed east. After that things are to settle down. Get it while it's here.
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Tuesday AM (1/16) the jetstream was pushing east off Japan with winds 160 kts over Japan, but weakening just east of there and showing signs that it wanted to split. The jet remained consolidated on the dateline with winds rebuilding to 160 kts in a pocket there and continued east over the Gulf of Alaska with winds 130-140 kts poised to pushing over San Francisco. No real troughs were indicated though there was still ample energy available to support gale development if a trough were to form. Over the next 72 hours winds on the dateline to build to 190+ kts later Tues (1/16) building to the east carving out a decent trough in the Central Gulf pushing east to the US West Coast on Fri (1/19) offering good support for gale development through that period. But at that time the jet is to be split over the dateline, but not strongly so. Beyond 72 hours the jet is to really fall apart. Starting Sun (1/21) winds over Japan are to be 150 kts but somewhat fragmented and only reaching just off the coast, weakening and starting to split as it approaches the dateline with a very weak and ill defined flow east of there. The remnants of the northern branch are to be pushing over the Pacific Northwest with the southern branch falling generally southeast towards the equator. no support for gale development is indicated. By Tues (1/23) more of the same is forecast but with additional energy starting to move through the width of the jet. The split point is to be over the dateline with the northern branch ridging some over the Western Gulf then falling into a weak trough just off the California coast with winds 110-120 kts offering some support for gale development and the southern branch tracking east over Hawaii and the two flows merging while pushing into Southern CA. Mostly this is to produce weather for California.
On Tuesday (1/16) swell from Storm #2 that pushed tracked east over the width of the Pacific was fading in Hawaii and still solid in California (see Strong Dateline Storm #2 below). Also secondary swell energy that developed from a gale in the Eastern Gulf (see Secondary Gulf Gale below) was hitting California.
Over the next 72 hours yet another small storm is forecast developing Tues AM (1/16) in the Western Gulf 1100 nmiles north of Hawaii with 45 kt west winds over a small area getting traction on an already roughed up ocean surface with 30 ft seas at 35N 162W aimed east. By evening west winds are to be 50-55 kts in the Central Gulf with seas building from 38 ft at 39N 148W aimed east. The storm is to be lifting northeast Wed AM (1/17) with a decent fetch of 50-55 kt west winds off Oregon with 50 ft seas at 41.5N 140W targeting North CA well. Wed PM the storm is to be off Washington with 50 kt west winds and seas 49 ft at 45.5N 135W targeting the Pacific Northwest down into Central CA. On Thurs AM (1/18) winds to fade from 40-45 kts off British Columbia with seas fading from 42 ft at 48N 131W targeting only Oregon-Washington and points northward with seas impacting the Pacific Northwest. This system is to fade from there. Something to monitor. Large very raw swell is expected for the Pacific Northwest. Relative to North CA - the storm is to move to within 740 nmiles of the coast ensuring a raw and jumbled sea state in sync with swell arrival.
North CA: For planning purposes based purely on forecast data (not confirmed data) expected swell arrival on just after sunrise on Thurs (1/18) building fast with raw proto swell 17.0 ft @ 17-18 secs (29 ft). Swell fading fast overnight fading Fri AM (1/19) from 12.0 ft @ 15 secs (18.0 ft). Swell fading Sat AM (1/20) from 11.7 ft @ 14-15 secs (17 ft). Sunday swell fading from 8 ft @ 12-13 secs (10 ft). Swell Direction: 282 moving to 292 degrees
Southern CA: For planning purposes based purely on forecast data (not confirmed data) expected swell arrival on just after sunset on Thurs (1/18) building fast with raw proto swell 7.0 ft @ 17-18 secs (12 ft) overnight. Swell fading steadily Fri AM (1/19) from 6.2 ft @ 16-17 secs (10.0 ft) at exposed breaks. Residuals fading Sat AM (1/20) from 4.2 ft @ 13-14 secs early (5.5 ft). Swell Direction: 292 moving to 301 degrees
Strong Dateline Storm #2
Another gale developed off the North Kuril Islands on Tues PM (1/9) producing a developing fetch of 45 kt west winds aimed east with seas building from 32 ft just off North Japan. On Wed AM (1/10) 45-50 kt west winds were getting traction part-way to the dateline with 43 ft seas developing over a moderate area at 44N 157.5E. By Wed PM (1/10) 45+ kt west winds were building over a broadish area a bit west of the dateline with a moderate area of up to 46 ft seas at 44.5N 165E aimed east (315 degs HI, 303 degs NCal). Thurs AM (1/11) 45 kt northwest winds were straddling the dateline with 45 ft seas at 41N 175E falling southeast targeting Hawaii pretty well (317 degs HI, 294 degs NCal). In the evening 40-45 kt northwest winds to be holding over a solid area in the Western Gulf 1000 nmiles north-northwest of Hawaii aimed east-southeast with 43 ft seas at 40N 175W targeting both Hawaii and the US West Coast directly and unshadowed (325 degs HI, 291 degs NCal). Fri AM (1/12) fetch was fading from 40 kts over a broad area filling the Western Gulf with 40 ft seas at 38N 172W aimed east-southeast (287 degs NCal,327 degs HI). Fetch faded in the evening 900 nmiles north of Hawaii at 40 kts from the northwest with 39 ft seas at 35N 167W (335 degs HI, 280 degs NCal, 290 degs SCal). Sat AM (1/13) 40 kts west winds pushed east past Hawaii with 31 ft seas fading at 32N 152W aimed east targeting Southern CA (276 degs SCal). The gale was gone from there but secondary energy was building right behind (see Secondary Gulf Gale below).
Hawaii: Swell continues down on Tues (1/16) fading from 7 ft @ 13 secs (9 ft). Residuals on Wed (1/17) fading from 5.5 ft @ 13 secs (7.0 ft). Dribbles on Thurs (1/18) fading from 3.6 ft @ 11-12 secs (4.0 ft). Swell Direction: 325 degrees
North CA: Primary swell fading Tues AM (1/16) from 8.5 ft @ 16 secs (13.5 ft) but with secondary swell arriving and intermixed (see Secondary Gulf Gale below). Swell to continue slowly fading Wed (1/17) 9.0 ft @ 14 secs (12.5 ft). Swell Direction: 290-295 (longest period energy) with lesser period energy Tues (1/16) onward from 278-285 degrees
South CA: Swell becoming unshadowed Tues 4 AM (1/16) at 4.0 ft @ 17-18 secs (7.0 ft) at exposed breaks holding through noon but still well rideable till dark. Secondary swell energy arrives after dark. Swell still solid on Wed AM (1/17) 4.0 ft @ 15-16 secs (6.0 ft) holding through the day. Swell fading Thurs (1/18) from 3.8 ft @ 14 secs (5.0 ft). Swell Direction:281-291 degrees
Secondary Gulf Gale
A secondary fetch of 35-40 kt northwest winds were developing in Central Gulf 800 nmiles north of Hawaii Sat PM (1/13) getting good traction on an already agitated seas state aimed east. On Sun AM (1/14) fetch was fading from 35 kts from the west pushing through the Central Gulf with 30 ft seas at 35N 149W aimed east directly at Central and South CA. Sun PM fetch was fading from 30 kts from the west pushing east with seas 27 ft at 38N 143W. This system was fading Mon AM (1/15) with 30-35 kt west fetch just west of the Oregon-CA border with 25 ft seas at 40N 135W. More but generally raw swell generation possible targeting California.
North CA: Expect swell arrival on Tues (1/16) near 5 AM with period 17 secs and size minimal and lost under the stronger swell from the dateline. Swell building through the day pushing 8.0 ft @ 15 secs around noontime (12 ft) and just under the size from the primary swell (above). Swell fading in conjunction with the primary swell. Swell Direction: 274 degrees.
Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Tues (1/16) near 2 PM with period 17 secs and size tiny and not real noticeable. Swell building as period hits 15 secs at 1 AM Wed (1/17) with pure swell 3.6 ft @ 15 secs (5.5 ft). Swell fading through mid-day Wed as period drops to 13-14 secs. Swell Direction: 282-284 degrees
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
No tropical systems of interest were being monitored.
California Nearshore Forecast
On Tuesday AM (1/16) weak high pressure at 1022 mbs was barely holding off Pt Conception while a local storm was starting to develop north of Hawaii racing east. Winds for all of California were light with fog in control over the San Francisco Bay Area, heavily moisture laden air ahead of the front. Maybe some light rain to result for the Pt Arena area later this evening. Wednesday AM the front from the local storm is to be impacting Cape Mendocino with south winds 30 kts over Cape Mendocino fading late and south winds down to Pt Reyes (5 kts). Rain for Cape Mendocino late afternoon pushing south overnight to Bodega Bay. Thursday sunrise the storm is to be off Vancouver Island with high pressure trying to build in under it but not quite making it with a 5-10 kt onshore flow forecast for San Francisco southward to Pt Conception but building to 15 kts from Point Arena pushing south to San Francisco at sunset. Rain pushing south from SF to Morro Bay through the day into mid-evening. Snow developing for Tahoe by sunset and building overnight. On Friday (1/19) high pressure moves in with north winds 15 kts for all of California and up to 30 kts for Southern CA late afternoon. Light rain forecast through the day from morro Bay northward. Snow continuing through the day for the entire Sierra clearing near 10 PM. Saturday (1/20) north winds continue at 20 kts from San Francisco southward down to San Diego early fading to 15 kts or less at sunset. A new front is to be impacting Cape Mendocino with southwest winds 25-30 kts after sunset and falling south slowly. Rain there building south to San Francisco near sunset but no farther south. No snow to the Sierra. Sunday the front pushes south to San Francisco late afternoon with south winds 25-30 kts. Rain heavy over Cape Mendocino falling south to Pt Reyes late afternoon and lighter to Monterey Bay late. Heavy snow for Tahoe starts around 4 PM continuing overnight. Monday AM (1/22) the front is to be over San Francisco with southwest winds 20 kts early slowly fading to calm late afternoon. Heavy rain for San Francisco before sunrise but continuing lighter all day into the evening. Heavy snow for Tahoe moving to the Central Sierra then slowly fading overnight. Tuesday (1/23) light winds early but a new front is to be producing southwest winds for Pt Reyes northward mid AM. Light winds south of there. Rain for Morro Bay north to Pt Arena and lifting north some through the day. Steady snow for the Central Sierra up to Tahoe and north of there later. Total snowfall accumulations 21-25 inches for Tahoe crest resorts through the Sunday afternoon and then 19-28 inches more into Thurs PM (1/25). 3-4 inches for Mammoth and 11 inches more out to Thurs PM (1/25).
No swell producing winds of interest were occurring.
Over the next 72 hours no swell producing weather systems of interest are forecast.
South Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
Marine weather and forecast conditions 3-10 days into the future
Beyond 72 hours a small gale is to form in the Northern Gulf of Alaska on Fri AM (1/19) tracking east with 45 kt northwest winds over a small area. By evening 45 kt northwest winds to continue with 33 ft seas building over a small area at 46N 151W. Fetch is to fade from 35 kt Sat AM (1/20) with seas fading from 27 ft at 45N 144.5W. Small swell possible for NCal but likely lost under larger raw local swell.
A small storm is to form off Japan on Thurs AM (1/18) producing a small area of 55 kt west winds and seas building from 43 ft at 38N 153E. In the evening 45 kt northwest winds to be pushing east-northeast with 45 ft seas at 40N 160E targeting Hawaii somewhat. Fri AM (1/19) fetch is to be fading from barely 45 kts from the west with 39 ft seas lifting northeast at 42N 166E. In the evening fetch is to fade from 40 kts from the west with seas fading from 32 ft at 43N 168E. This system is to be gone after that. Reasonable odds of small swell resulting for Hawaii.
Yet another small gale is forecast forming on the dateline on Tues (1/23) producing 28 ft seas aimed southeast for 12-18 hrs, then fading.
No other swell producing weather systems are forecast.
Beyond 72 hours no swell producing weather system nor fetch is forecast.
More details to follow...
Strong Easterly Wind Burst Occurring
The Madden Julian Oscillation is a periodic weather cycle that tracks east along the equator circumnavigating the globe. It is characterized in it's Inactive Phase by enhanced trade winds and dry weather over the part of the equator it is in control of, and in it's Active Phase by slackening if not an outright reversing trade winds while enhancing precipitation. The oscillation occurs in roughly 20-30 day cycles (Inactive for 20-30 days, then Active for 20-30 days) over any single location on the planet, though most noticeable in the Pacific. During the Active Phase in the Pacific the MJO tends to support the formation of stronger and longer lasting gales resulting in enhanced potential for the formation of swell producing storms. Prolonged and consecutive Active MJO Phases in the Pacific help support the formation of El Nino. During the Inactive Phase the jet stream tends to split resulting in high pressure and less potential for swell producing storm development. Wind anomalies in the Kelvin Wave Generation Area (KWGA) are key for understanding what Phase the MJO is in over the Pacific. The KWGA is located on the equator from 135E-170W and 5 degs north and south (or on the equator from New Guinea east to the dateline). West wind anomalies in the KWGA suggest the Active Phase of the MJO in the Pacific, and east anomalies suggests the Inactive Phase. In turn the Active Phase strengthens and the Inactive Phase weakens the jetstream, which in turn enhances or dampens storm production respectively in the Pacific.The paragraphs below analyze the state of the MJO in the Pacific and provide forecasts for MJO activity (which directly relate to the potential for swell production).
Overview: La Nina started developing in early 2016, but westward displaced and generally weak. And by March 2017, it was gone with suspicious warming developing along South America and over the Galapagos to a point south of Hawaii. By May the atmosphere returned to a neutral configuration but then in July east anomalies started building in the KWGA and have not stopped, with cold water upwelling over the the Nino1.2 and 3.4 areas, indicative of La Nina. So it appears now a double dip La Nina is setting up and is to continue through the Winter and Spring of 2017-2018.
KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast:
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of Mon (1/15) 5 day average winds were from the east over the entire equatorial Pacific including the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. Anomalies were neutral over the East Pacific but moderate easterly over the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): (1/16) Moderate to strong east anomalies were modeled over the entire KWGA. This pattern is to build more with strong east anomalies expected over the core of the Eastern KWGA today through 1/21, then moderating but still solid through the end of the model run on 1/23. The Inactive Phase of the MJO looks to be building per this model.
Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East
Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:
OLR Models: (1/15) The Inactive/Dry Phase of the MJO is moderately strong and over the dateline with the Active/Wet Phase locked in the East Indian Ocean. The statistical model depicts the Inactive/Dry Phase slowly easing east and moving to 155W and out of the KWGA at the end of the 15 day run and holding strong. The Active Phase is to be strong too moving over the Maritime Continent and trying to get a toe in the door over the far West Pacific. The dynamic model depicts a variation on the same theme, but with the Inactive and Active Phases weaker than the statistical model 15 days out.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (1/16) The ECMF model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO moderately strong over the East Indian Ocean and is to track east through the Indian Ocean and over the Maritime Continent reaching the West Pacific 15 days out but weakening steadily. The GEFS model suggests the same thing but with the Active Phase weaker 15 days out and not making quite as much eastward progress.
40 day Upper Level Model: (1/16) This model depicts a moderate Inactive/Dry MJO pattern exiting over the East Pacific and is to slowly ease east into Central America 1/24. A weak Active/Wet Phase is to follow in the West Pacific on 1/21 pushing east and fading steadily moving into Central America on 2/20. Another moderate pulse of the Inactive Phase is to follow in the west on 2/7 pushing east to the Central Pacific through the end of the model run on 2/25. This model runs about 1 week ahead of what happens at the surface.
CFS Model - 3 month (850 mb wind): (1/16) This model depicts a well formed Inactive/Dry pattern over the KWGA with east anomalies in control of the entire KWGA. The Inactive Phase of the MJO is to peak over the dateline 1/16-1/20 with strong east anomalies over the entire KWGA then starting to retreat on 1/24. On 1/22 the Active/Wet Phase is to also start building over the far West Pacific but not getting decent positioning until 1/27 with west anomalies over the Western KWGA but not passing 175E. East anomalies to slowly fade even though the Active Phase is to be in control then those east anomalies to finally die on 2/13. The Active Phase is to hold through 2/25 with weak west anomalies in the core of the KWGA. A weak Inactive Phase is to follow in the West KWGA on 2/17 holding through the end of the model run on 4/15 but with no real wind anomalies indicated. The low pass filter indicates a modest low pressure bias over the western half of the KWGA to 165E and is hold till 2/26, then start moving east reaching the dateline 4/2 with a high pressure bias over the East KWGA at 175E and is to move east and out of the KWGA by 3/15. No significant oceanic change is expected this winter as there is a 3 month delay for the ocean to respond to whatever occurs in the atmosphere, providing that change is consistent and long lasting (months in duration).
CFSv2 3 month forecast for 850 mb winds, MJO, Rossby etc
Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (1/16) The overview pattern depicts that warm water has retreated to the west and cooler water is in control in the east. Today in the far West Pacific water temps are 29-30 degs in the far West Pacific at 160E. The 28 deg isotherm line is steady at 180W and steep (meaning there is a headwind of cooler water pushing into it from the east). The 24 deg isotherm was weak but has migrated east to 120W and deepening to 100 meters deep at 140W. Anomaly wise in the East Pacific it appears modest negative temperatures are at the surface and down to -2 degs C in the far East Pacific and loosing ground with far less cool waters filling the area between Central America to 180W, and getting progressively shallower. Still, this is indicative of La Nina. Warm anomalies are in the West Pacific at +2.0 degrees down 150 meters and appear to be making limited easterly headway with the dividing line between cool and warm temps now at 120W down 150 meters. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 1/8 depicts a large area of cool water filling the subsurface East Pacific (-2.5 degs) but not as cool as the past months and erupting to the surface almost continuously between Ecuador to 170W with warm anomalies at +3.5 degs in the west. The cool pool appears to be slowly discharging to the surface and loosing density and depth while warm water appears to be pushing east under it at up to +3.5 at 175E and the leading edge at 130W.
Sea Level Anomalies: (1/8) Negative anomalies are in control at -5 cms over the entire equatorial East Pacific with a core of -10 cm anomalies present between the Galapagos to 150W with no breaks and 1 small pocket to -15 cms. But this are seems to be loosing coverage positioned mainly south of the equator.
Surface Water Temps: The more warm water in the equatorial East Pacific means more storm production in the North Pacific during winter months (roughly speaking). Cold water in that area has a dampening effect. Regardless of what the atmospheric models and surface winds suggest, actual water temperatures are a ground-truth indicator of what is occurring in the ocean. All data is from blended infrared and microwave sensors.
Hi-res Nino1.2 & 3.4: (1/15) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate a cool pattern is quickly dissipating fading significantly in the past few days. Upwelling is holding nearshore along the immediate coast of Peru and Ecuador but with a building pattern of warm anomalies out beyond the coast of Chile and Peru. Pockets of cool anomalies are tracking west on the equator from the Galapagos out to 140W but with a far smaller footprint than months and even weeks past. Pockets of weak warm anomalies are indicated just north and south of the route.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (1/15): A warming trend continues solidly along Chile and Peru and is building, starting to advect west on the equator from the Galapagos out to 140W. There was almost no pockets of cooling water over the same area. A warming trend is developing.
Hi-res Overview: (1/15) Regardless of the short term warming trend indicated above, a La Nina cool stream is still present starting off well Southern Chile and off the coast of Peru and Ecuador then building in intensity over the Galapagos pushing west and peaking near 120W, then slowly fading out to 180W. Cool water at depth is erupting to the surface with the breach point near the Galapagos. A small area of warm anomalies are building along the immediate coast of Chile and Peru. It appears La Nina may have peaked out.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (1/16) Today's temps were rising at -0.717 degrees. Temps in this area bottomed out on 12/23 at -2.1 degs, a third near peak negative reading. The lowest point so far in this La Nina was -2.248 degs reached on 11/5. And that low point was lower than the previous coldest point reached on 10/11 at -1.9 degs.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (1/16) Today temps were steady at -0.579 after rising fast the past 5 days, and after falling hard on 1/10 to -1.577 setting a peak low temp. On (12/7) temps hit a previous record low at -1.219, just below the previous coldest peak so far this La Nina on 11/22 at -1.156. And the third previous low peak was reached at -1.1 on 11/23. The long arc suggests a solidifying cold pattern. La Nina is in control.
CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies
SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (1/16) The forecast depicts temps bottomed out at -0.90 on Jan 1 and are rebounding forecast up to -0.55 early Feb then fading some to -0.65 through April. No change is forecast through the summer and if anything temps are to fall to -0.7 degs in Sept and holding. This suggests the peak of this years La Nina has occurred but that it is to possibly hold through Summer into next Winter (2018-2019). This model is the outlier with others suggesting La Nina is to die this Spring.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-Dec Plume updated (1/4) depicts temps bottomed out at -0.8 in early Dec and are to slowly rise, to +0.0 in May and +0.3 in August. See chart here - link The NMME consensus for Jan indicates temps -0.8 degrees below normal Nov-Dec 2018 then rebounding to neutral -0.0 in May and +0.4 degs by July. It looks like La Nina is peaking out now. The CFSv2 is in the low end of that pack.
Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (1/16): The daily index was rising at +17.11 today. The 30 day average was rising to -1.82 suggesting the Active Phase of the MJO was fading. The 90 day average was steady at +3.48 suggesting La Nina was weakly in control and maybe fading some (mainly due to influence from the Active Phase of the MJO in Dec-Early Jan).
ESPI (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive and/or rising is good, negative and/or falling is bad): (1/16) The index was falling slightly at -0.85. The trend suggests La Nina is slowly but steadily loosing its grip (up from -0.96 on 1/6). Last years La Nina reached -1.94 on 11/2/16 and then fell to -2.20 on 6/28/17. It held pretty negative after that but has been rising some as of late. This index is a forerunner of what happens in the ocean by 2-3 months in developing El Nino and La Nina events. The goal is to have it rise to at least -0.5 before a significant change could be suggested.
Pacific Decadal Oscillation: The PDO is weakly negative, but not as much as one would expect with La Nina in play.
Per NOAAs index recent values (Jan-Dec): Jan 2017 = +0.10, Feb = +0.04, March = +0.12, April=+0.52, May=+0.30, June=+0.19, July= -0.50, Aug= -0.68, Sept = -0.28, Oct= -0.60, Nov = -0.52, Dec= -0.18. This continues to look like the warm phase of the PDO, even with La Nina, because the warm PDO appears to be dampening the effects of La Nina. No consistently negative readings have occurred since Feb 2014
The Washington EDU index (Jan-Dec): Jan 2017 = +0.77, Feb = +0.70, Mar = +0.74, April=+1.12, May=+0.88, June=+0.79, July=+0.10, Aug=0.09, Sept = 0.32, Oct=0.05. No negative readings have occurred since Dec 2013
The PDO turned from a 16 year negative run (Jan 98-Feb 2014) in early 2014 and has been positive ever since (other than a few months of negative readings in Fall 2016, the result of a turn towards La Nina). Looking at the long term record, it is premature to conclude that we have in-fact turned from the negative phase (La Nina 'like') to the positive phase (El Nino 'like'), but the data strongly suggests that could be a possibility. By the time it is confirmed (4-5 years out), we will be well into it.
See imagery in the ENSO Powertool
External Reference Material: El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO), Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO), Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), Southern Oscillation Index (SOI), Kelvin Wave
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table